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Jane Blair Education. (2011) Jane Blair ('Hesitation Kills A Female Marine Officer's Combat Experience in Iraq.')

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Iraq 25, Kuwait 12, Us 9, Afghanistan 5, Jessica Lynch 3, United States 3, Marina 2, Osama Bin 2, Dillinger 2, Jane Blair 2, Egypt 2, Grossman 1, Jessica Lange 1, Foley 1, Jessica 's Lynch 1, Betsy Ross 1, Latina 1, Pos Katella 1, Uav 1, Taliban 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Jane Blair  Education.  (2011) Jane Blair ('Hesitation  
   Kills A Female Marine Officer's Combat Experience in Iraq.')  

    July 17, 2011
    9:00 - 10:00pm EDT  

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>> thank you very much. >> and thank you, folks are excellent questions. [applause] >> get the booktv schedule at e-mail to you. to sign-up on the user website, look tv.org and push the alert at or use your mobile phone, text the word book 299702. standard message and data rates applied. ..
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founder and chair of the congressional caucus on the women in the military. >> host: so, major jane blair, you're the first woman to write a book about your experience with respect to iraq. why? why would you want to write a book? >> guest: thanks for the question. i had a lot of reluctance about writing the book. being a marine i think there is a natural tendency to want to not highlight my experience, it just be a marine and not kind of get involved in writing and all that, but i kept a journal during my time in iraq and after i had come to the cup i realized i had incredible stories about marines that no one knows about so i felt there was an allegation for me to paint this
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portrait of my time in iraq but also highlight the stories of other marines i served with five felt hat done such incredible things and no one was talking about it and i felt it got to commit this to peter because all these stories are not free to get hold if i don't write this. >> host: it's interesting because men and women who go to work mac rarely discuss with the scene, so it's really interesting to have read hesitation kills and to see the perspective of a woman and how she deals with being in the military and how she deals with the whole aspect of war in the sense of ayaan targeting someone here and they are going to be killed, so i'm sure there was hesitation when others heard you are writing a book like your colleagues and stuff, the other marines because my brother was a marine and they are pretty tight lipped and entrenched and together if there is a sense of what happens among the marines.
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how did they treat you when you said i'm writing a book? >> guest: it was encouraging because i had taken on the sort of unofficial role of being the squadron historian so everyone knew i was kind of documenting it. it was a really unique type of thing we were doing at that time. was the first time we had the employee drones and this capability and so people were excited to get our story out and i received positive praise from my colleague and i thought they would be a critical of it that i find they are happy their story is being told because it's highlighting a piece of history that a lot of people don't know exists. >> host: take us through this because women have been in all
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of the major war all the way from betsy ross making the american flag to jessica lynch as the first p.o.w. woman taken in iraq for example. so let's go back because as you know, one of the things i've been working on on all the military issues in the house of representatives for 15 years now my entire congress service on the armed service committee i have been really watching and seeing how the role of the woman is within the military rank. so, that's go back to something that's really important because you did something i believe was unique. you pushed the envelope and women being involved in combat in iraq so let's talk a little bit about first of all what combat means. because some people think women shouldn't be involved in combat. talk about that.
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>> guest: combat is an interesting thing because a lot of people think to be in combat means you have reached a certain level or have to be infantry in order to be in combat. stepping back from that if you look at the definition of combat, it is any offensive action against enemy or a foreign forces that result in some type of conflict. with that definition in mind we have no front line in the current conflict in iraq and afghanistan, and people who traditionally wouldn't be in these schools are finding themselves very much on the front line and that means support units that have females and and traditional roles that people didn't sign up to be in the infantry are finding themselves on this front line. >> host: traditionally we felt combat with infantry use, so now
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we find this jessica lange, who was a supply person on a convoy, and she finds herself in a firefight, and she finds herself as a first p.o.w. which i want to go back to in a little while because you were involved in some of that. you see someone like ruby up in mosul on the day that the bomber got through the front line and went from the cafeteria and blew up the place and was one of the people blown out. the reality is i would say that is the front line almost any place is a front line if you were in a place like iraq or afghanistan. >> guest: yeah, and surprisingly, you know, women are often not acknowledge for serving those rules because there is no combat role for the women, and whether that's because of current policy, or just because the women are suddenly finding that because of the way that the war -- they are being put in that place, but i think there is a role for women
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in this capacity that they are finding, you know, that policy makers in the military findings are very useful such as being an interrogator translators or serving civil affairs or being in the female engagement team, which aids in helping the indigenous women and children in order to communicate with that. >> host: in other words when we go into afghanistan we go into the villages and are trying to win the hearts and minds of the afghan people we find that women sometimes are more effective going and talking to the women. of course the guys can't talk to them but they are more effective going to the villages and getting a good information about where the taliban is or who is aiding the enemy and more importantly what the town really needs in order for it to be more cohesive and stand on its own so that we can get out of afghanistan if you will. >> guest: absolutely. i think the women are bringing a new dynamic to the front line,
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and the combat is always changing. the way that we conduct warfare is evolving. we are no longer giving the first generation force on force maneuver that require that we have total upper body strength and we are hiking for miles, we are doing hand-to-hand combat and sure, those are important. but right now on the battlefield forces are finding themselves confronted not only has come to know, infantrymen but also finding themselves in the role of diplomat and peacemaker where there's the necessity to have the role of discussing and finding out ways to have conflict resolution with whatever culture we are dealing with. >> host: even on the athletic field, we found when we do the testing sure, they have the upper body strength, that's important and the, that i would say, but we are finding of the women have better insurance,
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marathon runner women on average can run, can endure more of the long trail issue will come so those are very -- the women treated different set of skills to that, and i think it requires both sets of skills to be the most effective military that we have. so, how do the marina guys feel about having the women in the role? because you had some very interesting snippets about, for example, one of the lieutenants who when you were a second lieutenant was a second lieutenant who really didn't appreciate you being around. >> there's two points on that. first i think there's a growing pains in becoming a marine. it's not just boot camp and then suddenly there are marines. i think that it takes a while to really understand what it is to be a marine. it could take years. sometimes you see in the sergeant major or the colonel de
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xm part of what it is to be a marine that sometimes it takes a long time. some people get it under a lance corporal but others it takes years to reach the plateau of put it means to be true marine. because of that i think for me there was a lot of growing pains at the beginning. i grew up in a very non-traditional military environment, no one in my family had served, so there was a lot of growing pains for me not to just figure out of the window but how to act like a marine and say yes, ma'am, yes, sir and follow orders and a deal with that. so in my new unit when i first became an officer i think there's a certain right of passage to second lieut. has to go through where you are the youngest most junior member of your unit and you've got to prove yourself before you are accepted as a member of the fold. so there was a lot of that going on. >> but that happens in almost any job, and you have got to
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sort of feel your way around about who really worked, foley is the go to person, who's always angry about anything. you have to know what is going on in the unit and its even more important i would assume if you go off to the war and it depends on these people to keep you alive. >> guest: absolutely. but - something different media and the civilian job was the idea surrendering my sense of persona or identity in terms of service during those things that were not marine like. whether that meant being feminine or whether that meant, you know, things that were not considered in reg for example nail polish or makeup, you have to surrender those things because if you want to get integrated and in the marine corps you have to learn to the marine, and that means not making excuses, not having any kind of behavior that's different from what is expected,
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and i found that by sending that and letting go of things that after a while just became kind of trivial people accepted me as a marina, and they would look to me as a marine before looking to me as a woman or a man or looking at me as the before a marine. >> host: in the book you talk about when ford example you were over in kuwait and iraq and you were surprised at one point that the men were ogling some of the women. [laughter] so how can you say i was accepted as a marine, when one of your superiors looked at you and said these are guys come hello, you're a woman. they haven't seen something like this in a long time because they've been stuck out here? >> guest: of course there's always that. you can't become your cookie cutter marine just like that. the fact is i am a female so they're always going to see me as a female, too. >> host: to the tender human trying to get your job on? do you really think they said this is a marine or do you think
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at least initially they said this is a woman? and it wasn't until they gain your trust -- i did -- i would assume immediate is the wrong assumption -- that got me marines think here is my partner and she's a woman. >> guest: there's definitely a testing phase that goes on when and other marine gets to know you come and so i think you know, initially people are always like okay, i don't know what to expect. is she going to ask for special favors, is she going to, you know, expect me to help her or what not, but i think once you prove you are going to do the job, people accept you as of that and it takes a little bit for them to start thinking of you not just as a you know, female but think of u.s. okay this is a marine and accept you as that and i remember some candid discussions with a fellow lieutenant of mine who said you
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know, i forget that you are a female sometimes when you are discussing it had to topics and then they will pop back and i shouldn't be saying that in front of you and i'm just like no, i'm one of the marines here. >> host: case of it is a woman thing. there's others with any good writing and again, i've got to tell you that this is really some superb lighting. i really enjoyed reading this. there's several stories going through. you are talking about being an unmanned of their vehicle in charge of basically what most people don't know or make no it's not traditional, it's not new at the time or the particular the iraq war where we fly these unmanned vehicles over the area of the battlefield either to get reconnaissance or figure out what's going on ahead or actually overhead as we see an engagement of troops, and
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then getting that and seeing that and getting that information back to the person on the ground so that she knows the enemy is just over the ridge or she knows there's a convoy coming or there are too many enemy troops in front of us we have to go and hide some place for a while. they are we overwhelmed. so, that is, that wouldn't you say? you were basically seeing the big picture of what's going on. that's unusual. we use it more, we will use it more in the future, but you were on the cutting edge of doing that, and you didn't know, did you? you didn't know if you were going to get to see and produce pete -- you trade for this, you're there and moving a group that does this, but there's this whole thing about what do we do, we have women in the unit comes atop a little bit about that because it is a theme going through the book.
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>> guest: first all i joined the marine corps during peacetime and so there was certainly the understanding that i would never go to combat according to what i had heard from the recruiters and of the people that you are going to save the oats, but in all honesty your going to be in some support unit and when i said the notes i took that seriously, and i thought if i have to go to combat a said the oath and i'm going to do my duty and to that so come november, 22, my unit starts coming up with this idea we are going to go to iraq and my commanding officer i mentioned in the book this story but he pulls the female officers, myself and the other female aside and says look, buy order of congress you are not allowed to go with us to combat to iraq because we are going to be pushing ahead of the infantry and going to do some untraditional operations which are going to put us ahead of the ground forces. so we set i'm going to fight for you guys and get you to kuwait,
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but i told the higher headquarters the of the 13 females that were going the unit is not going to be effective because we've represented not only the collections portion but one of the females was a pilot for the drones, which others who were in important support functions, so they formed the backbone of the unit in every section of communications marines, so without them we were going to be a sort of skeleton crew, so my commanding officer said i'm going to push for it as best i can. going to get you to kuwait and we will see what happens. if i have to leave kuwait, so be it but we are all going to kuwait. we get to kuwait and they sort of forget about us. >> host: what do you mean the sort of forget about you? >> others of 37 in the war is about to kick off and they don't have people to come and replace us, so i am guessing they just
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realized they have to sort of leads us our place the or not to be ineffective unit without us being in that you met so as a result of that when we got the order for the war to kickoff, we were ready to go and then it dawned on me i guess i am going to combat, i'm going to iraq, and i was actually had before it because i wanted to be with the unit of course and i think all of the females were expected and excited about that idea of going to the unit's and glad that was forgotten about. >> host: it was a crazy time i remember because we had a vote in the congress whether we would go to iraq were not and that happened in october right before the november e. election, so you find yourself all there in november and we are sitting around and sitting around trying to figure out what we are going to do, and of course we launched
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in march. so, you find yourself in iraq. give us a little bit about what that felt like. did you wake up every morning with adrenaline going? did you have your gun with you all the time? and by the way, the second story going on through that, is that your husband is also a marine and he has already into iraq, so you're in kuwait comegys in iraq, you don't know where he is. talk about the the that you actually did get to see him and what happens. >> i think there's -- for my book is two stories. it's kind of a love story, too because my husband and i got married before we both went to iraq. >> you wanted a big wedding and everything and then you realized ghosh. >> guest: august 2003 wasn't a good day after goals we into postponing everything in his unit launched ahead of mine and
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the deployed sometime in very early january to begin and as we had gotten married two weeks before and we didn't know how we were going to communicate because i have his address, but she wasn't going to have my address so there was no way to get letters from me as we spent first couple of months we will both deployed having no way of communicating and so there was just the sort of expectation of i hope that maybe i will see him out there in kuwait or iraq somehow but i had good units and higher headquarters who sort of kept me. they let me know his unit is over here and i just prayed that i didn't hear any news of anything bad about that unit because there was just no way to really know what was going on with his unit were with him at all so it was weird because it's the same time i was just a spouse and trying to grapple with those feelings as i am a newly wed and i really miss my
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husband but has a mission to do so i can't think of him right now to the i have to focus on what i'm doing here and so it was hard at that point especially being newly married i think it was -- i felt what happens if we are killed, and i never get to know my husband at all. hearst what happens to a lot of people any more. so imagine in world war ii for example all of those couples who got married right before most of the men went off to d-day, we just passed about ten days ago for example the anniversary and there was a lot of that going on. at least today we have something other than snail mail coming across on ships, we have e-mail, phone, we have a better chance to communicate. so what happened on the day that you saw your husband actually in
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iraq? >> guest: the day i saw him is when we kicked off going into iraq. >> host: so you were in kuwait and she was also. >> guest: yes because i had the privilege through my job of actually giving to some meetings where his unit was located. but after going to some of those meetings, his unit was always off doing some kind of exercise, so we had failed to meet several times and i left a note for him and he kind of knew he was looking for me and i was able to pass my mailing address to him and everything so we would write these ridiculous letters and say on the envelope unit to unit mail in huge letters so they wouldn't route back to the united states and back again but we found out later that is what they were doing sending it to the united states, so it would say in could take a month. >> host: like when you lose your baggage on an airline. >> guest: but we saw each other and was great because i feel very privileged to have that opportunity to see him first of all, but it's hard to
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describe it as romantic but -- pos katella is because i thought was funny i started laughing when you discussed it in there. >> guest: my husband took one of the humvees and we drove over to this vara area that was the front line of kuwait where we were and we looked out into the desert and both realize kind of the absurdity of the situation of sitting there looking over into iraq and what was coming to be in front of us knowing that we were soon going to cross that threshold into iraq was really interesting and like something out of the movie. it's a very surreal. >> host: when your husband left i have to admit that you were in 29 palms and you don't give it a very good rating by the way. i'm out there in orange county and it's just about an hour and a half to the east.
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of course we'd camp pendleton to the south and you weren't really nice to california talking about the desert but it's a great place because that's where we can put a devotee of the that can train in more like circumstances with your going to see an iraq or afghanistan. so, you are losing out there, you bought a house, you're hanging out, your husband leaves you a letter and says if i die, open this up. i'm not going to tell people what that said. i think the should get the book and read it, but did you ever open that letter? >> guest: not until iraq, but i definitely felt like opening it many times but i kept it because i wanted something to look forward to when i needed to read it so i read it as a last resort open when it needed. it was a sort of bedrock of
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holding at least while i was in iraq said it was a nice gesture on his part to leave me with something that i would be following him soon after into kuwait from iraq. >> host: so it's a long story. you are still with your husband, everything is good and worked out. okay. being in iraq and ordering what you knew, looking and seeing an ordering, telling people okay, you've got to go and basically dropped bombs on these guys or do something to the enemy. you were one of the first to do that as a woman. how did that feel? >> guest: you know, well, first of all, you know, killing in itself is something that is a moral decision that i think every combat and has to grapple with. the idea of am i ready to kill and what are the results of that and how it's going to affect you afterwards, and there's great
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books out there like on killing and why grossman that talks about the effect of killing on a person and what that means and the results afterwards of grappling with that. so, you know, part of that is through the lens of the unmanned mercurial physical when we were calling for fire on iraqi there's a certain level of assistance that you feel that they are alive down there but i'm not looking them in the eye staring at them face-to-face. so, at the same time you feel like because you can see the big picture okay i know that it's about to call for fire with their artillery on the friendly forces on the marines coming down the road so it's my job to protect them and so i felt very much throughout the war and in iraq my job was as the protector of the forces and -- >> host: back to the title of the book hesitation kills. if you see something in you know
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it's either going to -- you are either going to order to kill or they are going to order the kill on your people. >> guest: exactly. you only have a moment to decide this and you have to think before hand, you know, what am i going to given the situation you don't have time on the battlefield to think about the issues or grapple with them. you have to know at the moment what you're going to deutsch execute because you've only had moments sometimes and it could be at the risk of someone else's life or greater casualties or worth putting your own unit at risk as well. >> host: talk about the day you were going to go out on the road to an area where there was a lot of activity. and that might have put you more in a mano a mano situation, and you didn't go out and you heard the next day the fuel truck didn't come, so you didn't go up and someone else did ahead of you and how did you feel about
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that? because they really did what you might have been doing. >> guest: that moment i think what my unit talks about the most as being the hardest moment. i've talked to my commanding officer since then and we've kept in touch and my sergeant major and we talk about this particular moment a lot because had we gone through the area that is when dillinger was going through that critical area when there was unexpected amounts of forces fighting against the unit and basically the units became entrenched in that area and there was a lot more combat than the expected so we were initially supposed push through that area and go north to in the area and to launch so we could look as the ground forces came forward so we would be in advance of them and be able to see what the facts were.
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but we were hearing strange enough on bbc radio that that area was being lit up and -- >> host: what does that mean? [laughter] >> guest: sorry. >> host: i know what it means but what does it mean? >> guest: they were just being attacked by the iraqi forces. they were being met with armored units and a very strong resistance and unexpected amounts of really iraq armored unit forces entrenched in that position. >> host: so you could have been there and instead what happened? >> guest: they require a certain kind of fuel and so before we were able to go forward, we had to get the fuel which was aviation gas and so, in order to fly the uav we need to take at them. so we thought it was only going to take half an hour or an a hour to go back to where the tanks were. but we kept waiting and the fuel truck never came, so we had an
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order to go forward, but we couldn't go anywhere. >> host: suggested dillinger and others went that date. >> guest: exactly. >> host: and we know what happened with her. in the end of the story of jessica lynch, did you have an involvement of that? >> guest: my unit flew for that mission so we were flying over the hospital when they were doing the lynching rescue. so we got to watch the whole thing through the lens of the uav at least from the rooftop, and we also did the scout out beforehand. so we were flying over and azeri of looking for critical notes or indications where -- was cosines she might be there to collect the information we might heard from others because that is what we try to do even like for example when we went after osama bin laden and pakistan, we actually had heard that he was there may be a couple years before, but you have to fine-tune and continue to look
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for information that collaborates the story people are telling you, so you have a high chance that in fact that does happen there, so if you send troops in you are really going after osama bin laden or going in to get jessica lynch. >> guest: exactly. part of the information we were able to pull from the fly over in the city indicated that she was in the city so we were part of the collaborative effort that resulted in her rescue. you know, and actually i think that is i think one of the shining moments of our sergeant but the marines were spectacular and able to look at this imagery and analyze it and see things i couldn't understand how they were seeing but they did a phenomenal job in coming you know, thanks to them and they really saved so many lives on both sides really it was there who great effort that led to huge success for the marines.
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>> host: you and i have other things in common. if your mother is puerto rican so you are part latina if he will. did you see -- i don't know if you do. >> guest: unfortunately i do not. it agreed in paris that of my mother. >> host: do you understand it? >> guest: a little bit, yes. >> host: of course you know arabic because you spent some time in egypt. >> guest: that's correct. >> host: i'd also when i was younger i studied arabic in school, so did the knowledge of other languages helped you while you were in iraq or kuwait? >> guest: absolutely. after high school instead of going to college right away a troubled about a year and a half and it was during the gulf war i started off increase and to my parents on happiness i went over to the middle east and lived in egypt and israel and jordan specifically during that time period, so it was phenomenal and cultural knowledge that i
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accumulated but also just the language skills, too and i fell in love with of the middle east from a very early age study in history as a kid and looking through looking at all the art from the regions and in history. but commesso mauney love of the middle east and then it led me to study arabic further and so before my unit went to iraq, i became the sort of cultural expert and taught classes to the marines on appropriate behavior are not muslims and about the culture as a whole, and part of that was also some arabic language and some familiarization for them, and so a group of us started studying more the language and so then when i went to iraq i became the unit interrogator translator and basically just a person who whenever we were in iraq would talk to them, so it was extremely useful because on
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several occasions we were able to digest let violence that could have resulted in if there wasn't someone who was able to talk to them and find out why they were there and what they were doing. >> host: how much time did you spend in iraq? >> guest: i spent at the deployment, so early on i don't know how many months it turned out, but certainly not the amount of time people are deploying today. you know, people are going for a year and a half now. >> host: marines originally come as i recall, we would put them in for six or nine months depending on what they actually were doing for us and of course our army, boots on the ground actually in iraq we had them in there about 15 months or so so it wouldn't put them back to the year but it's a long time, it's a long time to be in the war. talk to me a little bit about -- discuss here in the book about being at the war all the time
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everyday and then coming back to the united states and how you go from that situation to be escalating in the sense you're body and mental state and everything to be able to flush back into regular life in the united states. >> guest: it's certainly an adjustment, and i feel for the soldiers, marines come service members who have a hard time adjusting because it is an adjustment, and when you are in that alpha mode kind of i have to be alert to everything around me all the time, we develop a very aggressive mind-set of looking for threats constantly around you and so when you come back to america you are in that mind set, and it's hard to just relax. it's different for everyone but for me the crowds were hard. i couldn't get near a crowd.
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i still have a phobia about the crowds and what not. >> host: because in iraq if it was a crowd, it was a likely problem of maybe somebody doing something to you hiding with in that crowd. >> guest: you have no control in the crowd, nothing, it could suddenly escalate into a mob scene. it's just your mind triggers' back to okay, can i control the situation i'm in, do i know where all of the threats are around me, so even coming back i think there's that mentality of okay what's the situation around me, are there any threats to the and i still think that we little bit so you're never completely out of that. >> host: as a marina and a this is a hard question to ask and i want to ask about you specifically but as a marine when they come back bigger subsidy whether you are a woman or a man you're supposed to be macho, not seek help, you're supposed to be able to reintegrate, and what we are finding more and more because we work with our healthy soldiers
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and the programs are put in camp pendleton sometimes you need to go over and talk to somebody and sort of to give out or get a plan of how to diaz the lead and come back. do you see more of the marines doing that now, or do you think they are still feel i'm stronger, nothing is wrong i'm going to be able to do this on my own? >> guest: i think people are starting to ask for help and there isn't that much of a sort of people are not looked at as being weak anymore for asking for help because it's something that affects everyone differently. i see people trying to get for post-traumatic stress disorder or the trauma of a combat situation in different ways to but everybody has different coping mechanisms. for me writing the book was actually very cathartic for me. i got it all out and i felt like it really helped me quite a that but i saw marines radically affected from within my own unit and was really sad some people
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became very withdrawn and others turned to drugs. some had a violent acts, and you know, it is just unfortunate because i think if people just reached out for help no one is going to really look at them as being weak. people need to take care of themselves and there are great programs out there for people to take care of themselves now. and they did to get at each of those opportunities because life shouldn't be a burden. you shouldn't have to live with those memories of the time and think that there is a constant threat towards you all the time. >> you have some instances where unless they don't know that you're an officer or they don't get it that you're an officer or superior, so tell me about one of those instances and how do
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you understand that, how do you overcome the fact that early on in the book she said something to the effect of the soldiers, one of the marines said to you i never salute when in? [laughter] >> guest: yeah. well, i looked very young and especially then i looked really young. >> host: you look very young by the way. >> guest: back then even more so. it was always kind of strange like i remember when i was in the airport it was a master enlisted marine chuckling with his friends and he came over like how old are you? he saw my ranks of new i had to be 22 or something and i think i was 29 at a time and he said you look like your 16, but he didn't say it in a bad week. just so surprised because i looked so young in uniform. >> host: but any instances
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where they were just downright not very nice or -- tell us, what has been an instance somebody has mistreated you or when you outranked them, and of course it's taboo in the military. you're supposed to be out of the corner of your i checking out insigne yet to figure out what you're picking orders are. >> guest: i think sometimes maybe not so much anymore, but people will try to gaffe of an officer and just walk by and see if they can get away without saluting. >> host: what you do in that instance? >> guest: you say hey, i'm an officer, a sign of respect would be nice and you correct them and let them know i rate a salute just like any other officer. so there is a culture still in a thing like that but it is a small minority, and those aren't your good marines really, they are just marines who don't --
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>> host: for the education benefits or something, don't really understand the importance of being in the core. >> guest: right. and it's not really even a female-male officer or officers acting superior. it's just a custom and courtesy of the military. and so, you know, part of that is rendered in a salute to officers, and so i never let anyone get away with anything. >> host: and do they bristle of the fact you go over and say to them i am an officer and you are descanting me right now? >> guest: no, thankfully throughout my time in the core i had great leaders. one of the people i respect the most was one of my first commanding officers, and i remember him particularly because when i was a young private first class straight out of boot camp she came up and shook my hand and treated me
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like i was some important officer and i always remember from my time knowing him and looking at his leadership he treated everyone with such respect no matter what ranked you work and i try to follow his example of the time of being respectful, and if there was something i salles brolan and another marine i would correct them but in a respectful way, not in a way the would put them down and realize that hey, everyone has faults and it's just a matter of correcting it and trying to correct it in a constructive way because items of correcting it and then on constructive we doesn't help anyone and people would respond to that and generally i would get a sari or apologize or something. >> host: there was another woman officer in your unit and she just couldn't wait to get out. explain that. here you come and you are a new minted second lieutenant coming over excited, and you have marine in your background, but
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you are patriotic and you are starting to get that there's this real thing about being a marine and you are excited to do your job and the first day you run into hersheys like i can't wait to get the heck out of here. so what happens to her in that situation? what was the difference in the way he found the court and the way she found being a marine? >> guest: i think the separating factor fy sometimes people decide to get out is because you have to decide whether you are going to integrate and sort accept that marine spirit and if you hold on to facets of your life that are not like marine, for example, she was a lovely person and everything but she just didn't want that gung-ho type of lifestyle. she didn't want to be the tough female. it was not a part of her character. she didn't want to emulate or become that and so for her eight seemed like it was a struggle to
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get accepted or just be accepted at face value whereas for me i was constantly pushing it like i demanded that sort of respect because for me it was important to be marine and it was important to do my job and sort of the officer and leader for the marines during this mission i felt was important, not that she didn't, she was a very competent officer and everything but for her she had enough, she just saw that it wasn't for her she didn't want to aspire to that type of model. >> host: this leads to another question because of course - fighting -- with the text says, i went to indy 500 school, and one of the first unspoken lessons you learned is if you are not in charge of the bottomline company, you are not keen to get to be the ceo. if you are in charge of human-resources to they are not going to consider you.
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if you look to the making of cars of the bottom line of the profit and loss of that, you have a shot of being ceo. so, the marines are number one dubious combat. so here we are -- by the way the congress does not -- it's not a congressional law that we pass this is that you -- that a woman cannot be in combat. we naturally in 2005 said the department of defense gets to decide that is the policy and that is why we were talking about some changes and looking at other mos's and other things that can be moved. the congress in 2005 -- initially to the some three the congress said no women in combat in these particular areas -- but in 2005, we changed that and said listen, department defense, you decide if you're going to change it you have to come and tell us because supposedly maybe the congress will stop you what have you. but it really is the dod's
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policy right now, so they are looking at that. but, you know, how do you -- if you are a woman and you don't get to go to combat, even if you are already there like jessica's lynch, i would say that's their or like you were, then one of the generals said one day this is the reason why we are never going to have three or four star women because if you're not in charge of, or you can't show that you are in combat when you move up the chain because you're competing you can move up or get out at some point. if you can't show that in fact you've been part of what the marines is really about the guy is going to get promoted over here. >> what we do about that? how do you react to that? >> guest: women are excluded from a lot of jobs in the
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military. the combat rules essentially that means offensive ground operations units such as infantry, artillery, armored units, things like that. and it creates of course a vacuum the women have reached a certain plateau and it's hard to get promoted after - because they can't get any of those of their experiences. >> host: would you say we should let them and change, and what would be -- what we do it by saying put different standards for the women who want to move forward on those or how would you -- first of all, would you allow women to do that, would you brought in their ability to have combat experience, and what kind of help or -- what kind of changes would you make so that you could ensure that some women could be in those ranks? >> guest: as you said, the dod is looking at those issues right
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now, and they are going to be able to assess the best way of thinking of the women can get integrated into those roles but from a personal perspective i think the women are already serving in some of those capabilities and are capable of meeting those missions and that many fronts such as the female engagement teams, civil affairs, that there should be certain allocations for women in these slots. >> host: cingular to see three and four-star general women? >> guest: but not at the cost of lowering physical standards. i do think they should look through the different jobs and determine what is the standard to this job? it's not just the women who might not able to meet it but i also heard stories about an infantry officer who gets a 100-pound guy in the unit who says we can't lift the 100-pound shell that weighs the same as him and so now he can't do his job even though he is technically qualified to do that job. so it's not just women.
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actually, making a physical standard for each job would put the most effective and right people in the job with their whammo or mnf. >> host: i've always said that not every man makes a good soldier. not every woman makes a good soldier, but if a woman can meet the standard and she wants to do it, then why are we to holding her back from trying? >> guest: absolutely. >> host: because we are putting that artificial piece on it. okay, so my next question is out of all the stories you told in this book, there were several in which words i see -- word dicey to read when you were in iraq or kuwait what was your most troubling or difficult situation? >> guest: well, you know, there are so many. >> host: you don't want to give them all away, you want people to buy the book.
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>> guest: i would see the beginning was the hardest because i was just learning to grapple with the idea of when we were still actually in to aid that is as my unit was in kuwait, grappling with the idea suddenly i was in, even in kuwait and so when the missiles started getting launched we thought they were coming right towards us because we would get these notices from higher headquarters that said inbound and we were trying to plot where it was going to land and hear the patriot missiles fly your back and so you felt suddenly non-combat and there is gas alerts going off and everything. so that was hard and especially because i had to control the mission at the same time in terms of looking at what the threat was. and that is we were looking out at the oil wells and determining if there was any determinate damage on the iraqi forces because the was an indication we
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were going to launch the board so they were tasked with this mission of keeping an eye out on the whole southern region. >> host: your member written the book when you saw him so you started the war is what you're saying? >> guest: basically. >> guest: my marines did, hopefully i had this really savvy smart marine and he was just great of looking at the imagery and he said very matter-of-factly to me man i think there is damage on one of the oil wells and i knew that once we said that and put that out there something is going to happen. so i asked him are you sure that is what we are seeing in he was very methodical and was like i don't want to say that. so we went back and looked at some other oil wells and sure enough we solve the deliberate damage where fighters were being laid off and streams from wells and gas explosions and things like that. and so when we reported that
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back to the headquarters, they immediately came back and within five or ten minutes said we are going to launch early. host koza you started the war? [laughter] so here is a question. when i start on the armed services committee 15 years ago when i first got to congress, young woman, one of three of the committee of 53 members, the most senior third in line for the democrats, when we first started that, we would actually have a vote on an annual basis for the first two or three years to just get rid of women in the military, and on that committee, on the armed services committee some democrats and almost all republicans would vote to kick the women out. until it wasn't until we brought the bill to the house floor that having more women and people in the congress we would put women back in the military. succumb even 15 years ago people are saying women are a problem
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in the military, so the question is do you think, and how do you think the role of women in iraq and afghanistan today do you think that is changing the mind maybe not of the american public because they don't see it so much of the mind the military leaders as they see the women perform i was surprised to see what women were capable of. i mean, i had stereotypes' and expectations before i went into the military of whether i was capable of doing it or not, and i was surprised at the women's capabilities both mendicant and officer candidacy school of not what i was capable of and other women were capable of and just seeing that on many occasions we could compete with the men. maybe we had physical limitations, but as a whole we
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were doing the same training as they were doing and that carried forward to the military units of that we would be integrated training from after boot camp we would conduct missions the same way they would and go through the same exercises and training and everything and i was always surprised by the women's capabilities not only that but having served leader as a marine attache working with the foreign militaries i was surprised especially the middle east and expected thing for them when i was in jordan for example i was the first woman to serve in that capability capacity but people were very receptive of it and initially they had hesitation putting me in that role because they were not sure they were going to be receptive to that. but it had opened up doors about what the women can do and it's
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fantastic because of the women have capabilities to bring to the table in terms of diplomacy or civil affairs that are different than that and i think it's just like any other field, you can't take the women out of the equation. >> host: its 50% of the population, so we are bright if you're just saying no women at all then you're taking away the pool from which you control the very best for the marines to our soldiers. >> guest: and its -- i was never a huge advocate for the women in combat until i started investigating this issue. >> host: about sexual harassment? in the military? did you see it? did you see it in iraq? is it coming down, is it going up? >> guest: this is an issue i get asked about a lot and in my own personal experience i haven't seen much of it also
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like to know it does happen, and when i have seen it on live seen it dealt with very effectively and swiftly where the officers in charge will carry out the equal opportunity policy and ensure it is complied with as soon as possible, so it happens in civilian life, too, not just the military. when you put men and women together i think it's bound to happen. but the strange thing and i felt was discriminated against in the military than i did in the civilian capability. i worked in some companies before i went into the military and also then contracting company after the military and i was surprised to find people treat me more like a woman and not capable of doing basic things than in the military people sort of treated me like a marine first and then as a woman
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second and just how different that was and to show there is a role for the women of the tree, positive role. i've read so many books that portrayed the women as having a negative experience and wanted to show there is a positive thing that can come out of that as well. >> cingular a reservists now and one of the toughest things to do because it's about shuffling paper around. devotee i can talk to if you get past major, lieutenant colonel, colonel commodores guinn to be great but major is a lot of people pushing. last question right before we end here. hesitation kills. so, you had a good experience, you wrote the book because you had a good experience. it's really also a love story as you indicate before or help people will read it. peter, your husband, if you have a girl would say you have a baby and you have a girl, would you tell her yeah, it's okay to go
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into the military, it's a good career, be a marine, be all that you can be. is that -- what would you say to your daughter if she came to you one day and said mom, want to be marine? and we have about a minute left. [laughter] >> guest: i would probably train her to shoot when she's about six. [laughter] but that's just me. >> host: is there enough shooting because of basic training they are going very -- host could you have already taught her how to shoot and away he would go. >> guest: >> host: the proud mother of a marine. well, jane, major jane blair come thank you so much and for having written "hesitation kills," and i hope that the viewers will pick up a copy, and read it because i really found it incredibly great.
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>> guest: thank you. it's been an honor. >> that was "after words," booktv's signature program which authors of the weakest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists and public policy makers, legislators and others familiar with the material. after words there's a free weekend of booktv at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday and 12 a.m. on monday. you can also watch "after words" on line. go to booktv.org and click on "after words" and the booktv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. ..